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Reasons Why Baby Cries When Changing Diaper

Fussy babies are part of parenthood. In babies’ early days, crying is one of the only ways for them to signal that something is wrong or uncomfortable. While crying is totally normal, these daily hysterics can sometimes get the best of us.

If diaper changes seem to trigger your little one, understand that you are not alone. Your infant is getting used to the world around them and the sudden change of setting a diaper change can require may be confusing or upsetting. 

If you’re looking for ways to alleviate your baby’s diaper time stress, read on for possible reasons behind it. There are a few circumstances that could signal something more serious, but for the most part, diaper time cries are something we all experience. 

Why Your Baby Cries When Changing Diaper

If you’re experiencing your baby crying specifically when you head to the changing room, some common factors may be at play. Discover the reasons behind their cries to soothe your baby at diaper time.


If you typically change your baby’s diaper before feeding time, try waiting until after they’re fed to see if this soothes them. Babies are pretty good at letting us know when they are hungry and that’s usually through their most practiced verbal cue - crying.


Since newborns and toddlers cannot regulate their body temperatures the same way that adults do, they are dependent on us to help them feel comfortable. When you head to the changing table, your baby will often notice the change in temperature as the diaper comes off. That little change can be enough for them to verbalize that they’re unhappy. To remedy this, try using the warmest room in your house or bundle up your baby's top half while you're getting the task at hand done.


Our newborns are experiencing things for the first time and trying to make sense of it all. In the first few months, your baby may be crying at changing time because they simply don’t understand what’s going on. They don’t understand what their bodies are doing and why they need to lay down for a diaper change. 

If your baby is crying due to a bit of confusion, they will likely get used to the changing table after a few weeks or months. Try communicating what you’re doing in a soothing voice from the start of diaper time. Even if they don’t understand exactly what you’re saying, you will be building dialogue and increasing the bond with your baby. 

They Need to Be Burped

Your little one is bound to get gassy sometimes. To help alleviate any uncomfortable gas build-ups from breast milk, formula or a growth spurt, try rubbing your baby’s tummy and gently patting them on the back before you lay them down for diaper time. This way you can rule out an upset tummy as the cause of diaper time cries. 

They Want Independence

As your baby gets older, their spatial awareness begins to grow. This leads them to begin grasping and holding objects, playing with their toys and reaching a myriad of milestones. 

As they learn, our little ones want to be more independent. So, if it's suddenly diaper time and baby gets swooped up from her play mat, she will let us know that she’s unhappy.

When your baby is old enough, try giving them some warning that diaper time is coming. It will help lessen the frustration and confusion. Giving them a distraction or a special “changing time only” toy can help as well.

The Diapertainment wall mount is a good example of this. Diapertainment is a clear, angled tray that keeps your phone safe and attaches to the wall at the perfect viewing angle for your baby. It comes with fast access to baby-safe videos with high visual stimulus so you can champion diaper time without tears or wrestling matches. 

Red Flags

There are a few less likely scenarios to be aware of that may be the underlying reason why your little one is crying when you lay them down on the changing table. If your baby cries hysterically changing diapers, it could be a sign that something more serious is happening. 

Acid Reflux

Acid reflux can develop in young babies. Signs of this could be if your baby spits up or vomits frequently after feeding. Acid reflux occurs when some stomach fluids reach the esophagus and can cause discomfort and pain. 

It is easier for the stomach contents to reach the esophagus when your baby is laying on their back. So, if you’re noticing these signs, and your baby is crying when they are laying on their back (changing time or not) it could be a result of acid reflux. 

Spina Bifida

Spina Bifida is a condition that causes babies' backbones to develop abnormally. Normally this is discovered during pregnancy or by birth, but it can go unnoticed in some cases. Spina Bifida can cause nerve and spinal damage and makes it very uncomfortable or painful for babies to lay on their backs. 

If you think that your little one could be suffering from acid reflux, spina bifida, or is experiencing any abnormal discomfort, follow your instincts and make a doctor’s appointment immediately. A parent’s instincts should not be ignored. 

Don’t Beat Yourself Up

We will do anything to make our babies more comfortable. But they don’t always make it easy on us. As parents, it can sometimes be tempting to blame ourselves if your baby cries when changing their diaper. If you are starting to feel the mounting stress, then remind yourself that this is a natural part of their growth and some babies are just fussier than others. 

Take a break or lean on your support groups. Sometimes, it really does take a village.

What techniques do you use if your baby cries when changing diaper?

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